Hamish Riley-Smith

Rare Books And Manuscripts

James and George Grote Mill

Objections To The Ballot

MILL,James and GROTE,George.
Objections to the ballot, answered from the writings and speeches of Mill, Grote, &c.
London: Henry Hooper, 1837
Octavo, linen-backed marbled boards lettered., pp.20.

First edition: variant issue, one of the copies printed for general distribution. A disposal of 23 popular objections to Parliamentary elections by ballot, by and large supported by relevant quotations from George Grote and James Mill. Among the objections were: Ob.5. 'That the present frank and manly manner of open voting, is preferable to the mystification of the Ballot'. Ob.11. 'That in towns, combinations of the people by political unions, may be able to operate irresistibly on the fears of voters'. Ob.12. 'That the Ballot will not prevent intimidation'. Ob.14. 'That the Ballot will not secure independent voting'. Ob.17. 'That the Ballot will favour the telling of lies'.

"For most of the radicals, the single most necessary reform was the introduction of the secret ballot...Once the act of voting was protected from intimidation and bribery, the radicals were sure that the forces of democracy would tend naturally towards a liberal, reforming direction. The number of MPs supporting the measure – dubbed the 'ballot men' – was seen by the radicals, entirely wrongly as it turned out, as a measure of radical strength in Parliament, and the motion, traditionally moved by Grote, was gaining ground...The momentum towards the secret ballot was lost with the accession of Peel to the premiership in 1841, and would not be passed until 1872 (by which point Mill himself had changed sides on the issue)..." Reeves p.130

John Stuart "Mill ceased to make distinction between Harriet's [Taylor] mind and his. In little things as well as great, he followed where she led....He who, as a loyal Radical, had been a protagonist of the secret Ballot, became in the Representative Government its chief opponent." Packe p.370.

Goldsmiths 30217.


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